Saturday 20 January 2018

The Ryan Review: Our money was not put to good use

'Ireland is not an example of 'taking hard choices and winning', even though it suits our politicians to trumpet this line, and it suits those at the IMF and other institutions.' Photo: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
'Ireland is not an example of 'taking hard choices and winning', even though it suits our politicians to trumpet this line, and it suits those at the IMF and other institutions.' Photo: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

I only got to ask one question of Michael Noonan and then Justice Minister Alan Shatter at the press conference launching the new Insolvency Service (ISI) a year ago and it was this: "Why have you allowed a bank veto in the legislation? Surely the banks will just say no to debt deals they don't like?"

It was a question any journalist there would have asked but it received a dismissal from both ministers who said that using the veto wouldn't be in banks' interests as they'd lose more if the customer went bankrupt.

Ahem. Roll up, roll up… logic may have been foremost in the ministers' minds, but not so much the banks'. A year on, they were willing to forego no less than €5m between them rather than 'give in' to hard-up borrowers, and that's just after surveying 25 bankruptcies.

Banks are punishing the ISI as much as their customers with this punitive action which sees them get absolutely nothing except a property in deep negative equity for their stance, but hey, that's better than being seen to lose face by accepting the mortgage-holder was too highly geared.

But let's remember who the €5m has actually cost? Aside from Bank of Ireland (who notoriously won't allow debt deals), it's us, the taxpayer and the banks' owners, certainly in the case of AIB, PTSB and EBS. Hope you're feeling your money was put to good use - I'm not.

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